I remember the first time I heard of kombucha.I was at a friend’s house and they had multiple gallon-sized jars of different colored liquids on the countertop. And each jar had a thick, weird-looking, pancakey-type thing in the bottom. My friends tried to talk me into tasting some of it. I did not.
Fast forward a few years, and somewhere along the line I’d given the strange stuff a try (I sampled a store-bought kombucha long before trying homemade!), and became a fan! Eventually I decided to try making my own. This is a fairly easy process and one I plan to outline in the next post. Homemade kombucha is a bit more unpredictable than store-bought (and I love this kombucha if I’m buying); but I like to make my own food, and I especially like to save money by making my own!
What Exactly is Kombucha?
If you are at all familiar with the health and nutrition world (and since you are reading this, I am going to guess that you are at least a little bit!), you’ve probably seen and tasted kombucha at some point. It is a fermented sweetened tea that may or may not be flavored with added ingredients.
Kombucha, like most fermented foods (sourdough, yogurt, kefir) is made with a starter. The starter here is called symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast; typically shortened to SCOBY, which is pronounced just like it’s spelled!
The scoby is added to the sweetened tea (I use a mixture of green and black tea for mine) and then allowed to sit in a warm spot for a couple weeks. It will develop a film on top, which can become the scoby for your next batch. After two weeks, the kombucha can be drunk as-is; flavored with fruit or fruit juice and drunk or allowed to ferment further; or just left for another week or two to ferment until the desired level is reached.
Depending on the kombucha, some is more bubbly and carbonated-like than others. Some of the brands intentionally carbonate theirs. I like to let it ferment a bit longer than is necessary when making my own, because I like the extra bubbles. Not everyone does, however; and it’s still good for you either way.
What are the Health Benefits of Kombucha?
Kombucha, or “mushroom tea” as it is sometimes called, it chock-full of probiotics. That is the main draw it has to the health and nutrition world. The good bacteria also make it easier for your body to fight the bad bacteria in your system.
Kombucha is also thought to have a good source of antioxidants. However, it is possible that the antioxidants are from the green tea that is used to make it rather than the fermentation process itself.
I personally enjoy kombucha enough that I could drink it every day! I love watermelon or cranberry-flavored kombucha especially. But, because of the sugar content, I limit it. It is fermented sugar, so much of the sugar actually gets eaten by the bacteria in the process. It does still have a pretty high sugar content though. So find some flavors you like, and drink in moderation!
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